Australian Open SF preview and prediction: Murray vs. Raonic

Milos Raonic will be trying to book a spot in his first-ever Grand Slam final when he takes the court at the Australian Open on Friday. Standing in his way is four-time Aussie Open runner-up Andy Murray.

Andy Murray and Milos Raonic will be going head-to-head for the seventh time in their careers when they square off in the semifinals of the Australian Open on Friday night. They have split their six previous encounters at three wins apiece, and they are 2-2 against each other on hard courts. Their most recent showdown came last spring on the clay courts of Madrid, where Murray prevailed 6-4, 7-5.
Murray 2
That was the last time Raonic played until Queen’s Club and Wimbledon, as he missed the rest of the clay-court swing because of minor foot surgery. He never got entirely back in gear throughout the remainder of 2015, slumped to 14th in the world, and failed to make a second consecutive trip to the World Tour Finals. Now healthy and with a new coach in Carlos Moya on board, Raonic is positively on fire to begin this season. The Canadian beat Roger Federer for the Brisbane title and he is still undefeated following Melbourne victories over Lucas Pouille, Tommy Robredo, Viktor Troicki, Stan Wawrinka, and Gael Monfils. Raonic upset Wawrinka in five sets and held off Monfils in four on Wednesday night.
Never a rarity, Murray has been a roller-coaster of emotion throughout this fortnight. But for the most part his progress on the tennis court has been straightforward. The second-ranked Scot punched his ticket into the last four by taking out Alexander Zverev, Sam Groth, Joao Sousa, Bernard Tomic, and David Ferrer. Only Sousa and Ferrer managed to steal the second sets of their respective contests, but Murray quickly restored order to the proceedings each time.

“I think I played well today,” Murray said after beating Ferrer. “I think today was probably the best match I played, especially in the second and third set. I started hitting the ball better from the back of the court.”

That is where the No. 2 seed will have an obvious edge over his adversary on Friday, even though Raonic has improved his movement and baseline game. Murray also traditionally feasts on huge servers who showcase a more one-dimensional game than others. He is also an expert at changing the direction of the ball during points, especially with his down-the-line backhand, which exploits opponents that are not especially fleet of foot. Murray is 4-1 lifetime in Aussie Open semifinal matches, with his only loss having come to Novak Djokovic in a 2012 five-set classic.

Pick: Murray in 4

66 Comments on Australian Open SF preview and prediction: Murray vs. Raonic

  1. MTO Raonic??? What?

    If he has an injury then he SHOULD lose! I don’t want a walk over for Novak in the finals!!! Although it might be the case anyway… 🙂

  2. Raonic can play his forehands quite early as well…look how he stepped in to hit an inside in forehand winner when he had murray out of position.This set will be 6-4 Murray but the 5th one, is literally 50-50 or may be 53-47 Murary. I don’t think Raonic will be worn out. His brand of tennis has that advantage.

  3. Milos not converting break points will cost him a match…Now Murray has mental edge over Milos…and Milos having that nagging groin pain will make it harder to move…this is all over for Milos but he really did a great job and had his chances…

  4. Bravo Milos for the effort. Impressive. I’ve had right groin injuries – it’s not easy to move/lift your leg. I’m feeling for him.

  5. Will arrival of baby get good fortune for Murray and get him his 1st?

    Imagine Andy just wins AO and Kim just goes into labour after he wins 🙂

    • sanju, did you see this match? Andy was lucky that Milos got injured and failed to convert numerous break points…Andy’s level is lower than last year’s…Novak will just eat him up…

      • and what’s more Andy will have an excuse ready: “you know hmm.. my wife hmmm..will be in the labour any time soon so hmm…it was impossible to focus today and against Novak one must be 100 % So I congratulate him”… 🙂

      • Murray may not have been at his very best but then, neither has Djokivic been in this tournament either. Nole played badly against Simon and Nishikorim, so don’t assume it will be a cake-walk in the final. In spite of Raonic getting an injury later, Murray may still have won that match. No one really knows, but fitness is a part of tennis as well as skill….

  6. so milos was up 2 sets to one and got injured? very disappointing for him. seems like andy got lucky. although maybe he would have fought back and won anyway, who knows? not the way you want a match to be decided in any event.
    feel sorry for milos, he seems to get injured a lot.

  7. Please folks let not assume Andy won just because Milos got injured. 5th set yes was walk in park but 4th I don’t think Milos was that compromised.

  8. Why are we not accepting the fact that Novak is winning everything as his primary 2 rivals are not what they are any more. He hardly won anything when they were in their peak and after his stellar 2011..2012-2014 ..he hardly dominated because Rafa was still around strong and Fed/Murray were stronger too in pockets.

    Between 2012-2014 Rafa won 4 slams..novak just 3 and murray 2.and rafa did not even play all 12..he missed he won 4/9 and lost 2012 AO narrowly and got injured in 2014 AO..

    Novak is dominating yes but clearly making full use of depleted rivals.

    • I don’t think anyone would deny that but it’s a combination of both.

      Rafa was pretty much peak in 2011 (albeit he made strategic adjustments against Nole in 2012). Rafa made it to three finals winning the French obviously and losing twice to Nole. He’s only ever made it to three finals twice.

      Nole also suffered a letdown after 2011 which he recognized was largely mental and therefore hired Becker.

      Nole would have beaten any version of Federer yesterday.

      So, yes, a combination.

    • So what would you have Novak do? Just lose to make Rafa fans happy? That’s what sport is about. If your biggest rival isn’t able to do well enough to beat you or even get there to play you, then what is to be done? It sounds like we should blame Novak for still winning!

      I just don’t get that at all. Novak is still doing what he should be doing. Playing well and staying mentally strong so that he has the best chance to continue to win. It’s up to his rivals to be at their best to try and beat him.

      • Nobody is blaming him. Please understand the message.

        He is doing what he is supposed to do..WIN..but is hughely helped by the fact that his primary 2 rivals are missing in action the way they were till 2014..Its not Novaks fault but fact is he is also lucky to have both of them waning.

    • believe me I would love to see it…tennis needs to be more competitive…I was so happy when Delpo won USO…

      Both on ATP and WTA we have two persons dominating and I dislike it completely…I will cheer for both Murray and Kerber but there is no way really either one of them will do much…

      • Yep true. It’s just like 2004-2007 when no one could challenge Fed’s dominance.

        At least during 2008-2010 when Rafa was at the top, there’s Novak there in 2008 to challenge for the no.2 position vs Fedal; in 2009 there’re Fed and Delpo when Rafa was injured and in 2010, Fed was there winning the AO and Novak was on the upward trajectory of his career from Wimbledon onwards.

        Novak’s dominance now is so comprehensive that it leaves no room for true competition, just like Serena’s. It doesn’t help when there’re no promising youngsters to challenge the old guards not to mention taking over from them.

        • The purest interpretation I’ve read of what has happened. Not demeaning anyone, respecting all, very fair and true.

    • I won’t be shocked. If Murray plays with the right strategy and drags Novak to five sets anything can happen.

      Novak will come out all guns blazing just like he did against Rafa at Doha and Fed here. His strategy vs his main rivals is simple – plays aggressive tennis to win the first two sets, takes a breather in the third and then focuses on winning the fourth.

      He did that to Rafa at Wimbledon and USO 2011 and did that to Fed here. I feel both Rafa and Fed made the mistake of feeding Novak with pace, trying to overpower or outhit him. They won’t succeed from the baseline.

      The old Murray would feed Novak with junk balls, off pace shots, and then varied the pace of his shots and kept Novak guessing, like at Rome 2011 SF for eg.

      The current Murray always tries to overpower Novak from the baseline and hence he lost 9 out of 10 matches against Novak. He’s not going to win this AO if he continues to play this way.

  9. I guess the smart pick is Novak winning in 3 sets. But I am thinking that surviving the five setter might give Murray a boost. I still think he can get a set. I would love to see him win, but I think Novak is just too good and too determined right now.

    Murray will have to come out playing his best if he wants to have a chance.

  10. What I want to know is whatever happened to Nole’s threat that tennis would no longer be his his No 1 priority: in future it would be his wife and son!!!

  11. just been reading some articles saying that they reckoned that milos would have won if he hadn’t got injured…(i didn’t see the match)
    of course that’s unknowable..but it’s very sad that the injury was such a factor in terms of the outcome..

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